First, the current state of IRF is one of deepening crisis, and as Secretary of State Kerry recently stated, “Attacks on religious freedom are… both a moral and a strategic national security concern for the United States.”
  • Second, in March of this year, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) published a report on IRFA that highlighted the need for the State Department and the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to improve their interaction. And as part of this report, representatives of NGOs recommended greater inclusion of civil society and other nonstate actors and further empowerment of U.S. government entities. You will find this report here.
  • Third, just last week, Congress held its first and only oversight hearing (in the 15 years since its passage) on the U.S. government’s record on implementing IRFA. IGE President, Dr. Chris Seiple (and other IRF roundtable participants) were blessed with the opportunity to testify before The National Security Subcommittee of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. To read the written testimonies, please click here. To view the full hearing, please click here.

Good for the GAO for completing its report, and good for Congress for holding this hearing. But now what? Where do we go from here? What is the best way for civil society and governments to work together to promote and advance IRF; to strengthen IRF policy such that freedom of religion, conscience, and belief—the foundation of human dignity—is protected and promoted, resulting in reduced persecution and repression, as well as greater security and stability worldwide?

IGE President, Dr. Chris Seiple co-founded and co-chairs the “International Religious Freedom Roundtable” (2010-present), a bi-monthly meeting of religious freedom organizations that meets on Capitol Hill to share ideas and invite each other into respective initiatives.Critically, the first half of the meetings are for NGOs only, after which point, government officials are invited in to share what we are thinking; i.e., the bottom-up of civil society is inviting the topdown of government into our conversations. Given the critical moment for IRF in the U.S. and abroad, IGE and participants of the IRF Roundtable are organizing two major initiatives in the next two weeks, and you are invited to participate in both:

    A multi-faith NGO letter + recommendations to U.S. government leaders. Please consider signing this letter (email by the close of business on Wednesday, June 26 if you or your organization would like to sign on).
  1. The Roundtable’s Second Annual IRF Event, which will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 27, in the Cannon Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. Please consider cosponsoring this event (we currently have 14 cosponsors, which you will find listed on the agenda), and please consider attending this event (RSVP to

You can also help by advertising this event to everyone in your professional networks.